Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Ranking the Pac-12 bowls
By Ted Miller
While many eyes will be on the national championship game -- the LSU-Alabama rematch -- it's possible the Pac-12 will produce two more entertaining bowl games.
Here's how we rank the Pac-12 bowl games.
1. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 2): Oklahoma State (11-1) vs. Stanford (11-1). If you gave LSU or Alabama one of these two QBs, the national title game would no longer only be about defense. This will be college football's goodbye to Andrew Luck, while Oklahoma State and Brandon Weeden will want to make a simple statement: We should have played for the national title. This feels like a game that is certain to go into the fourth quarter.
2. Rose Bowl Game (Jan. 2): Oregon (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (11-2). Two high-powered offenses. One that spreads you out and overcomes you with tempo and speed. One that lines up and plays smashmouth football, at least until flashy QB Russell Wilson arrived in Madison. Oregon has lost two BCS bowl games in a row, so the Ducks need to win to make a firm claim to a spot in the nation's elite. Wisconsin sort of feels the same way -- the Badgers lost here last year to TCU, if you recall.
3. Valero Alamo (Dec. 29): Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5). It appears Baylor will feature the Heisman Trophy winner: QB Robert Griffin III. Or RG3, for short. Both teams have plenty of offense and neither will scare you on defense. If there are fewer than 75 points on the board, we'll be surprised.
4.Bridgepoint Education Holiday (Dec. 28): Cal (7-5) vs. Texas (7-5). How can a matchup of 7-5 teams be a good one? Well, there's a rivalry angle here for Cal fans who have tenaciously remembered that Texas coach Mack Brown lobbied in 2004 for a Rose Bowl berth at the Bears' expense. For the Old Blues this is a chance at vindication. And both of these teams could use some positive offseason momentum.
5. Hyundai Sun (Dec. 31): Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5). It will be interesting to see how Georgia Tech's option attack does against a tough Utah defense.
6. MAACO Las Vegas (Dec. 22): Boise State (11-1) vs. Arizona State (6-6). This is a sad way to end the career of Boise State QB Kellen Moore. One of the great QBs in college football history is going out, not in the BCS bowl he deserved, but in the Las Vegas Bowl against a team that collapsed and fired its coach. I'd rate the Sun Devils' chances here only slightly above zero.
7. Kraft Fight Hunger (Dec. 31): Illinois (6-6) vs. UCLA (6-7). You have two interim coaches because both teams fired their head coach. You have a certainty that one team will end the season with a losing record. You have one team riding a six-game losing streak. You have another that lost its final regular season game 50-zip to its archrival and needed a waiver from the NCAA to even be here. If you are watching this game on New Year's Eve, you are in need of some fairly strong New Year's resolutions about, you know, getting a life.